As reported in The Hutchinson News: The Kansas State Fair’s Rabbit Barn, renovated in 2005, hosts a space large enough for at least 1,100 rabbit coops and supports not only the fair’s rabbit events, but multiple rabbit shows throughout the year.
Vicki Hinners Myers, superintendent of the barn, said attendance and shows multiplied.
“Since I’ve been here I’ve just been increasing the number of participants,” Myers said.
Myers works with a crew, including mother-daughter duo Dianne Lauxman Jenkins and Kasey McKone, who have shown rabbits for the past 10 years. The two woman are also involved with the maintenance and care of the rabbits.
Jenkins brought McKone to the fair for the first time in her eight-grade year, where they purchased their first rabbit for showing.
“We purchased our first rabbit here at the state fair, then subsequently Vicki gave us our next rabbit on that, and from there on, we’ve been showing every year the fair (is) here, it’s been 10 years now,” Jenkins said.
Since then, the pair and Myers have maintained and cared for all rabbits at each show. In April, they hosted the Mini Rex breed nationals for the first time—people from across the U.S. visited the state fair in order to show the rabbits.
The Mini Rex breed is one of the most popular rabbit breeds in the U.S.
The Rabbit Barn has hosted the Salt City Rabbit Show, Central Regional Rabbit Club Show and the National Mini Rex Rabbit Show, as well as the 4-H/FFA Rabbit Judging throughout the fair. The rabbit barn, since its renovation, has introduced many children to the rabbit showing platform—similar to how McKone and Jenkins first got into the showing world.
“At the end of the day, just probably my biggest compliment is that 75% of our rabbits we sell to youth, easily,” McKone said, “And when that kid comes back to say ‘do you have a rabbit? Can I have another rabbit from you?’ is easily my favorite thing.”
Myers said her favorite part of the fair and shows include those who attend and show their animals. “It really is the exhibitors… I’ve known some of these exhibitors my whole life so, because I used to show in 4-H, I’d show rabbits and so it’s just you know, us getting together and, you know, teaching more people,” Myers said.